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How do dram shop laws affect liquor sellers and servers?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2022 | Dram Shop Act

Both criminal and civil laws hold a drunk driver responsible when they cause a car accident and injure somebody else. Victims have the right to go to court to seek rightful compensation from the driver for damages like pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages.

What you might not know is that as the victim of a DUI wreck, you might have more than one party to seek compensation from. Thanks to Georgia’s dram shop law, you might also be able to sue the bar, nightclub, restaurant or other establishment that overserved the driver.

Georgia’s dram shop law

Every state has some version of a dram shop law. Georgia’s law says that a business or host that sells or provides alcohol to someone who later hurts somebody in a car accident, if:

  • The alcohol provider “willfully, knowingly and unlawfully” gives or sells alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age, knowing that the underage person will drive “soon” or
  • The recipient is “in a state of noticeable intoxication,” knowing that the person will “soon” drive

The theory is that the seller or provider contributed to the conditions that caused your injuries by knowingly overserving an obviously intoxicated adult (or serving an underage person) and letting them drive away later. Putting profits over public safety can put a liquor-selling establishment in the position of having to help pay for the consequences.

Getting the most compensation possible

Having more than one potential party to pursue compensation from can give you more options for greater recovery. Proving that the business violated the dram shop law can be complex. But it can help you and your family be more fully compensated financially.